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Satisfaction, Hopefulness and Skepticism Greet Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Deal

Reactions to the seemingly historic power-sharing agreement signed Monday by the heads of Zimbabwe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party and both wings of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change ranged from hopeful to skeptical, while foreign observers maintained a wait-and-see posture citing the risk it could fall apart.

Ordinary Zimbabweans expressed happiness – and the hope political leaders will set aside rivalries to meet their needs.

A Harare resident named Mufanechiya told VOA that he wants to see the details before celebrating. Cyril Moyo of Victoria Falls told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the pact has raised popular expectations.

Though many Zimbabweans hailed the signing of the agreement, some civic leaders continued to express skepticism, among them National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku.

Madhuku told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his organization will keep fighting for the people-driven constitution - i.e. one focused on popular needs - that he sees as the real solution to the crisis.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the power-sharing process has been flawed from the beginning.

Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Kandemiiri that his trade union will not be party to the accord, as it concentrated on power instead of democracy.

Some outside Zimbabwe voiced skepticism as well.

Africa Programs Director Howard Wolpe of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington told reporter Carole Gombakomba that the agreement seems fragile, and that the United States and other Western nations will want to see true cooperation before lifting sanctions or loosening purse-strings.

Though the signing of the power-sharing agreement brought hope of a new beginning for the country, persistent electrical power-cuts remained the order of the day for residents of the Midlands province capital of Gweru who expressed disappointment that they were unable to follow the proceedings on radio or television, as Taurai Shava reported.

Signature of the power-sharing deal generated much excitement among Zimbabweans living in the so-called diaspora, especially in South Africa.

Reports said some were jumping on buses home though VOA could not confirm this.

But the happiness was mixed with worry, according to Executive Director Gabriel Shumba of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, who told reporter Patience Rusere that expatriates are concerned the South African government may now step up deportations.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...